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Dear Bill

volume.jpgQ: What is the difference between us mortal chiropractors and the few who see between 2,500 to 3,000 a WEEK in a single doctor office? While I have NO desire to try to duplicate that, I’m nonetheless fascinated by it. What makes them able to create this kind of demand for chiropractic?

A: Granted, I’ve never actually met these chiropractic superstars who are able to help large numbers of people, but I’m guessing that there are a couple of profound differences between them and the typical chiropractor.

While it’s tempting to look at a single dimension of these individuals (patient volume) and overlook the impact it may have on their marriages, relationships with their children, the overall sense of peace and other emotional and spiritual issues, I would assume such chiropractors would have at least made the following distinctions:

Time vs. talent – Allowing patients to buy your time rather than your talent places an automatic cap on the number of people you can help. Many chiropractors would like to help more people but believe that it takes a minimum of 12 minutes or 22 minutes or whatever to deliver the adjustment necessary to help facilitate the healing process. Not true.

Clear boundaries – When you’re meticulous about what’s yours and what’s the patients, you‘re freed up to help a lot of people. Comfortably small offices will often focus on who doesn’t show up, coming off as a time-consuming nagging parent. Once you attain the proper emotional detachment (care, but not too much) and you no longer make outcomes (good or bad) about you, volumes can increase.

High energy – My guess is that these are not Jabba the Hutts, but instead are pretty good specimens of physical health themselves. These are probably optimistic, “can-do” people who are quick to point out new possibilities and provide hope. Patients are attracted to their positive attitudes. Naturally, they would walk the talk, getting regularly adjusted themselves and practicing what they preach.

Decisiveness – The most effective people in chiropractic, business, sports, politics, parenting—you name it, are decisive. They make decisions quickly and have a clear North Star for making them. They don’t have the aversion that many chiropractors have to saying “No.” As in “No thank you.” Or, “Sounds like a great opportunity, but I’m not interested at this time.” Call it a sense of purpose, but it boils down to being able to avoid shiny objects and stay on course.

Consistency – When they find something that works, they stick with it. They are not above borrowing from others or imitating the procedures and policies of other successful chiropractors. It does not “have to be invented here” to be embraced and used. Little energy is used to reinvent the wheel. Systems run the practice and people run the systems. Little is left to chance or the whims of personalities.

Presence – To pull this off would require incredible presence. The chiropractor would have to have the personal discipline to be totally and completely “with” each patient. This requires great intensity and did I mention discipline? While most chiropractors lose energy and momentum from starting and stopping all day long, busy practitioners get in the zone and stay there. No interruptions, Internet, reading the mail or needless chitchat. Focus!

Flexible financial policy – To help a lot of people you’d want to have a different attitude about money than most chiropractors. Apparently, when you’re busy you can afford to ask for and expect payment for your service. Large outstanding balances aren’t tolerated. Patients know why they’re there and value their health enough to appreciate what the chiropractor is doing to help them, and willingly to pay for it.

I’m sure there are other aspects, but these come to my mind. Maybe a high volume practitioner or two will weigh in and offer up the points I missed or messed up…

Comments (3)

At about 350 PV/week, I wouldn't want to see many more patients. I'd miss the relationship I have with my patients.

Dave Eckerson:

Your seven points are right on point. I have 21 years in this biz and have often wondered what the big differences were between them and myself. I have been in their offices to witness it really being done. I witnessed a DC do 69 visits in one hour on a saturday morning in Newport Beach, CA. WOW! is all I can say. Magapractors are extremely focused to the point of obsession. Sure, they are richer than most, but it seems like something's off. You almost can't really get them to connect with you. They seem almost possessed. Maybe that's what you have to be in order to develop such a large following. Hmmm.

In Richard Branson's Business Stripped Bare he writes: Scale doesn't matter - people do.

I had grandiose visions of taking on the corporate world but realised very, very early on that it was going to be a complete pain in the butt, dealing with a lot of people who care about their health a lot less than I do. So I'm not even going there anymore.

Then I attended The Conversation and Bill confirmed something I was feeling all along: Real change occurs knee to knee, eye to eye, one person at a time.

Owning a relatively new, small practice growing steadily, I am not sure where or when that 'real' change will start getting cramped. Health problems are becoming far too complex and require a little more time and thought these days beyond the VSC (longstanding, healthy, regular clients excluded).

Neil Bossenger
Auckland, NZ

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From October 5, 2009 2:05 PM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 5, 2009 2:05 PM.

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